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Cubs Draft Rumors

Matt Swain

Illinois engineering student, way too emotionally invested in the Cubs.

By Dan Cupples

There lot's of rumors around the web concerning the Cubs potential 1st round pick on Monday. It seems as we sit now 2 names are being linked to the Cubs predominantly, Justin O' Conner (C Cowan HS, Muncie, Ind) and Karsten Whitson (RHP Chipley (Fla) H.S.) Both offer huge upside and could signal a change in draft philosophy by the Cubs. I've profiled O' Conner in the hitters preview and Whitson in "Draft Profile: A.J. Cole and Karsten Whitson" so I will just do a quick review on both.
O'Conner has made the transition to C with a plus-plus arm and athleticism. He's still very inexperienced but shows potential to be a well above-average defender to go with a power bat. The risk here is that high school catchers rarely pan out.
Whitson would be a steal at 16. He offers athleticism that translates into command and repeats his delivery well. His 90-94 fastball can touch 95 is above-average and may throw harder down the road. His plus slider that offers hard sharp break is a true swing-and-miss pitch. His change-up is currently solid-average with plus potential. Couple tweaks to his delivery once he becomes a pro gives him a ceiling of an ace. He easily could be a top notch #2 on a 1st division team. 
I keep hearing how much the Cubs like H.S. OF Austin Wislon who will be a tough sign. I find it unlikely but I do hope this means the Cubs are ready to invest in the draft. This does not mean they need to throw a ton of money at their 1st rounder. The Red Sox have routinely paid over slot money to picks later then the 5th round. The Phillies invested 1.1 million in 2009 for Jonathan Singleton H.S. 1B (200k rd. 22) and H.S. RHP Brody Colvin (rd. 7). Singleton is an absolute beast and Colvin's FB/CB combo have scouts thinking A.J. Burnett.
The reports this morning are that the Royals have reached an agrement with Miami C Yasmani Grandal. What's this mean for the Cubs? Probably not much considering he was always thought to be going somwhere in the top 15 picks anyways but not as high as #4. This could really shake up the front of the draft and has some potential of dropping a highly ranked name into the Cubs lap.
Word is RHP/CF Brett Eibner wants to hit fulltime so this may preclude him from the Cubs plans as he was a name linked to them in the last month. With the draft on Monday this will end my preview portion of our draft coverage but look for my in-depth review soon after the draft as well as a wrap up after the August signing deadline.



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